Monta McGhee (I Was Surprised How Good The Israel Players Were In The League)

Monta Mcghee is a 33 year old 198cm forward from Chicago that completed  his first season for Elitzur Yavne (Israel-National League) where he played  27 games: 15.2ppg, 9.7rpg, 3.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 71.7%. He started his basketball career in 2000 for Kishwaukee College (NJCAA). He then played for Lewis (NCAA2) until 2004. He started his professional basketball career in 2005 for e p Horsens IC (Denmark-Basketliga) where he played until 2007. In 2007-2008, he came to Germany to play for la Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-2.Bundesliga, starting five): 30 games: Score-4(18.8ppg), Reb-4(9.2rpg), 2.3apg, 1.8spg, 0.6 bpg, FGP: 45.8%, FT: 73.7%, 3PT: 28.3%. In 2008-2009, he played for the Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 34 games: 14.1ppg, Reb-3(8.3rpg), 2.1apg, Steals-2(1.7spg), FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 69.7%. He then played for n : Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Holland-DBL) from 2009-2011 winning the  cup in 2010 and league title in 2011. In 2011-2012 he played for Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-D1, starting five): 36 games: 8.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 62.2%. He gave German Hoops an interview during the last season.

You played your first season in Israel. How did you like the country and basketball?

The basketball was great and I love it here. I didn´t really know what to expect as I came, but the people have been nice and I am having fun here.

How did you experienced the political problems in Israel?

I didn´t see too much. The city that I was in was in a safe part of the country, but I have been concerned about the happenings here.

Some American players  fled and went back to the States. Did you ever have any thoughts about returning back during the season?

I did have thoughts about returning back to the States. I was at a point where i´t wasn´t about basketball, but about my safety. But then everything started to settle down and I decided to remain here.

You played the last years in Germany, Holland and Belgium. Was it a big transition coming to Israel?

Yes it was a big transition, because Israel isn´t really Europe for me. There are many new things for me here. It just has to with everyday things like going to the grocery store and buying things.

How would you compare the Israel national division to other leagues where you have played?

There are some good Americans here, but what really surprised me most about this league is how good the national players are. I didn´t think the Israel players could be so good.

Your stats were almost identical with what you did in Nordlingen. What was your role in  Israel?

My role was basicly that what I always was wherever I have played in that I am the blue collar player. I did whatever the team wanted me too do. If it meant defending the other teams best player, scoring or rebounding. I am just an all around player that does what it takes to help the team win.

You had  Pele Paaely as a teammate and a few other international players. How was your relationship with the other Israel players on the team?

It was a little different this season as there are only two Americans, but we all got along. They like hanging out with us and we with them. It is very family orientated and we like to play NBA 2K together.

You lived in a very old city with Yaune. What did you like most about the city?

It was very small and a different feeling coming from a big city like Chicago. But for me it was a nice break being able to live in a small place for a change. In a big city often you get lost, but in a smaller place everybody knows you. Everybody loved me and sometimes my neighbors invite me to dinner.

NBA player Omi Casspi comes from Yaune. How often do you hear his name in daily basketball talk there?

Omi Casspi is like the Michael Jordan here. He is the only guy that has made it to the NBA from Israel and everybody is proud of that. Many guys on the team are friends with him and they often talk with him. I think that also that since he is from here, it could give players form here a better look in general and help their careers.

You played two seasons in Germany. What do you miss most from Germany?

It has been a while since I played in Germany. I will tell you what I don´t miss and that were the long road trips of seven, eight or nine hours. The last years I had nice short road trips in Holland and Belgium.

You played together with Danny Gibson in 2007-2008 in Cuxhaven. Who got whom to go to Nordlingen?

I think it was more a package deal. Andreas Wagner saw that we both played well together. We had good chemistry on offense and defense. We also played together in Holland.

What was the most spectacular thing that you saw Rocky Trice do in Cuxhaven?

Cuxhaven was one of my favorite seasons, because we still communicate today with my ex teammates. He did so many good things and was so athletic. If I had to choose one play then it would be his tip in dunk form the free throw line.

You played a season in the Beko BBL in 2008-2009 with the Nordlingen Giants. One could almost have called the team Monta Mcghee, Omari Westly, Danny Gibson and Osvaldo Jeanty. What did you learn form that season?

That season I learned that you need more than four guys to be successful, but also a solid bench. We had some big wins and I think that we surprised some people that season. We always competed.

Was Nordlingen the smallest city that you ever played in?

Yes I think it was. There were only two grocery stores there. There wasn´t much to do there. You could walk down the street and you would be in another city.

Who would win a one on one in practice you or Omari Westly?

Of course I would win. I would never go against myself. I would beat him with my quickness. I would make him play defense.

Omari Westly was the leading scorer in 2009 in the Beko BBL. His career went backwards then as he played in Kuwait and Doha. Are you surprised that he didn´t make the next step?

He is a great athlete and was always causing mismatches at the position four. I don´t really know, because we weren´t that close. But I think he might have made bad decisions in life or not had the best agent. I am very surprised that he didn´t go play for  a top Beko BBL team the next season.

Who was the toughest guy that you had to defend in the Beko BBL?

Rickey Paulding of Oldenburg who could shoot and put in on the floor and Romeo Travis. Rome was strong and tough to post up.

What were the most free throws that you made in a row without missing?

I made 41 in a shooting competition a few weeks ago, but it wasn´t the most I ever made.

What was your most crazy shot you ever made in a game?

In my first game in Leiden, Holland, we were down by two points an dthe opponent was the free throw line. They missed the free throw intentionally and I got the rebound and took one dribble and made a full court shot to win the game.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. One of the best movies for me. It is a comedy.

Thanks Monta for the chat.

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